Monday, August 26, 2013

Looking Pail: Bedtime

It has come to this, reader. Joyfully for me, and perhaps not so for you. But this is the juncture at which my blog veers off from infertility (and pregnancy after infertility) head first into parenting themes. I'm not apologizing. I'm stating it because it is so. If you need to stop reading, I understand and I'm not mad at you or sad for me. I write for me. You read for you. When what I like to write and what you like to read intersects, that's fine. When it doesn't intersect, that's fine too.

This is the extent of what I'll do for the transition. I'm not changing the blog, renaming it, changing the address, or whatever. It's a personal decision, and this is what I see as working for me. I want to continue blogging, but I may not be writing about infertility quite as much, and will be writing about parenting a great deal more.

Today, a boring post about bedtime; that magical time of day when your hands mildly start shaking because your glass of red is just so close, you can almost taste it.

For the first 5 months of life, Gummy didn't have much of a bedtime routine. It basically consisted of: 1) Going to Bed. As a newborn, sleep is the main activity all day/all night, with regular intervals of eating. Wakefulness was sparse at first, as is true for many newborns (but not all. If that's the case for yours, I'm sorry). But by the time she was 2-3 months old, she slept more at night and less during the day (and slept through the night at least one out of every two nights. You can hate me).

I had been harbouring some fears about my baby's sleep before she was born, admittedly not so much for her as for Mr. A and I. We work best with ample sleep. On my end, I tend to be a complete bitch when I'm deprived of food or sleep. Mr. A just becomes more absentminded than he already is, which amounts to forgetting more than remembering. And putting his cell phone in the washing machine.

Then Gummy arrived and she LOVED to sleep. Truly, she was an olympic sleeper. We never went so far as to have to wake her up in the first few weeks to feed her (since, you'll remember, she also LOVED sucking and ate very well), but I have on several occasions had to check to see if she was breathing because I expected her to be awake when she was asleep.

So as I said earlier, the bedtime routine used to be simple. Baby is tired. Wrap baby up. Put baby in crib* But it niggled at me. I have extolled the virtues of a proper bedtime routine for children (and adults) countless times in my job, and here I was basically throwing my baby in bed.**

Now, there were a number of things we were doing consistently that made for somewhat of a routine. Sleep works best if you can have a ritual around it, whether you're a baby, a kid or an adult. So, we always wrapped her up in a little pea pod with a zipper (I've just now learned those are called woombies). We always put the sleep sheep to the same setting (rain). We always put her on her back (of course). We put her to bed at 7pm, plus or minus an hour depending on how she was doing.

But I've noticed that with this parenting thing, one must have an idea of where things are going, so as to lay the foundation for it early on. I wanted her to sleep independently from us in her own room. That's not where I started (she was in a bassinet beside our bed), but I thought of the steps to make that happen and we worked our way to her sleeping independently in her crib.

In terms of the routine, I was thinking about her being a toddler and going to daycare. And that she would need to be bathed much more frequently than we bathed her as an infant. So, I knew bathtime had to make an appearance in the bedtime routine. We started feeding her solids 2 weeks ago, mostly at dinner time. Bathing no longer is optional when your child is squishing peaches and avocado slices between her fingers, around her mouth (what am I saying, in the general area of her head) and up her arms. This is when I started considering the eating bandana suggested by Bunny and endorsed by Bun Bun.

It seems a bedtime routine is emerging. Thus far we have:
1) Eating (and there's another post on that coming). This includes cleaning her with a washcloth afterwards where a tug of war ensues over the washcloth. She has the crack addict intensity need to have it in her mouth.
2) Bath (after several bathroom floor floods (because we were too chicken to actually put her infant tub in the tub), I bathed her in her tub inside the big tub. Nobody was injured. More eating of washcloths. Also, she plays with a plastic baby hippo, and more recently a pink pig.
3) Diaper and pyjamas.
3.5) If Mr. A is not there, this is when I go downstairs to fetch formula. If we are both home, one of us gets the formula while the other does step 3.
4) put her halfway in the pea pod (woombie) and start the sleep sheep.
5) walk around with her while telling her about all she did that day. In French. Very calmly. (this is where I would like to read her a bedtime story, but all she wants to do is eat the books. I've tried giving her a book to chew on while reading her another book, but then she wants to chew on all the books and I have nothing to read).
6) She drinks a vat of formula
7) She dozes off. I kiss her, wrap her up completely and leave her be.

The bedtime routine has been working well. Except when Mr. A tries to do it. Somehow when he does it, she freaks out from steps 3 to 5. I usually have to intervene for steps 6 & 7 to happen. He's feeling down about that. I'm not sure why she freaks out when he puts her to bed. When we talked about it last night, I said I thought maybe she likes dad for fun things and likes mom for comfort, and bedtime is a hard transition so she needs comfort. But who the hell knows? Infants don't talk***
Gummy Girl is now having a terrible time sleeping. But whatever. She has a great bedtime routine.

* We started her in the crib at 2 months. Some will say that's a bit early, but her room is close enough to ours to hear her and be cribside in about 5 steps. It was important to me to have her learn very early on that this is where she sleeps.  

** Before your call children's aid, I say that as a figure of speech. 

***although they shriek, as she started to do last week. 


  1. We had a woombie. And we too called it the pea pod (it was green, after all!).

    I wanted to read to Tiny Boy much sooner than he wanted books. Now he talks about them by name and has particular requests (you know, there's the "owie" book, "big" book, "ni-nite" book, "dido" book, etc)

    Sounds like you have a great routine in place. Hopefully this is just a glitch in the sleeping and she'll be back to it soon...

  2. From what I've learned with my two difficult sleep fighters is sticking with the routine, even when it doesn't appear to be working, somehow works in the end. Both of my boys don't do as well with the routine when Dad is in charge of it. Almost like they think they can get away with something but I know at least one of them is too young for that manipulation crap. Maybe Gummy sees it as a change of routine when Mr. A does it rather than just her other parent carrying out the routine. I personally know how life seems to fall out of balance when I don't get at least five hours, so I hear and feel what you are saying.

    I'd guess that since she has been a good sleeper from the beginning that this is just a glitch as mentioned above. Teething can throw a wrench into things like this if that is a possibility. Seems like you are doing a stellar job with the routine. My assvice, just keep with it and see if this will pass.

  3. I may not comment as often, mostly because I'm not familiar enough (YET), but I still love reading every post and will continue to do so. Much love, and I hope she starts sleeping better very soon, how can she not with that awesome routine!

  4. Wonderful! I am a fan of your transition and feelings with this post. Perhaps because I'm not in a sensitive time but hey you deserve to just go forward without dwelling on it or apologizing for it.

    Sleep routine does wonders at our home...we didn't start til around 4 or 5 months either. Today, if we miss something in the routine (besides bath which is every other day or so) the girls notice and ask for it or don't go down very well. They also favor me for bedtime and Jeff for fun I agree that's probably Gummy's reason. My husband is bummed about it too though so I hope Mr A takes heart in knowing he's not alone. You both sound like amazing parents. Good work :)

  5. Baby is tired. Wrap baby up. Put baby in crib*

    That's roughly what we did (minus the wrapping; I never mastered the art of swaddling, and luckily Gwen didn't really care one way or another); it's still basically what our bedtime routine is. I've been trying to put in a bedtime story or two, but sometimes she's not interested, so the routine consists of "Toddler is tired. Change toddler's diaper, put toddler's PJs on, tuck toddler in bed with stuffed animals. Kiss, turn off light, shut door". When we don't stop between PJs and tucking in bed for a book or two, the entire thing takes about 5 minutes.

  6. I recommend the big inflatable rubber duck baby tub. It has soft squishy sides and gave E a place to semi stand during wash downs. Reading weeks of wonder (or wonder weeks?) helped me more through the sleep humps. It was a book referenced by my over-priced sleep coach that I simply bought and read. Not that it addressed sleep, but helped me to know what stage she was in and why she would just wake up different every so often. E slept well, but not really the long stretches of all night until after her first birthday. The only other advice that was useful was splitting up being on call for three night intervals. Three is the magic number for refreshing that sleep debt and sanity. She'll change again within a few weeks and a new schedule will emerge. Hang in there.

  7. I still remember the mama of a ...I guess they call them "high needs" asking me what I did to get Bun Bun to sleep. She had a notebook and everything. I was like...I...put...her...down? I also remember you saying something really smart in a post of mine about sleep. I am too lazy to find it, but it was something like "I think all parents have to do some work around the issue of sleep"...Glad yours is starting! Hurrah!

    I think I was better at getting Bunlet to sleep, and yeah, it's hard on the other parent. But then we sleep trained their asses and it didn't matter who put them down! WOO!

    Love these posts, just love them.

  8. Wow, you're so organized, I feel very unprepared (although that's a general theme when it comes to "what to do when these babies are actually here").

    I'm so glad you get to write these posts, Augusta. So glad.

  9. First off...thank you SO much for your incredibly thoughtful kind words when I really needed them today! They mean more then you can know, thank you!!!

    Second, it makes my heart happy to see your parenting posts. That's great you've got a good routine in place for bedtime, we also found it was helpful once Ian was a few months old to start a routine and it's definitely transferred really well into toddler hood. Look forward to all your future parenting posts. Enjoy the journey my friend and remember in the difficult sleep deprived moments that this too shall pass!

  10. The sleep stuff. Yeah. Especially when the pumpling was quite little, I found that how she slept had a huge impact on me. Even when it wasn't directly impacting my sleep, it felt like a really big deal. We, too, read books before p cared about them, and there was book-eating, for sure. That will pass. Now it's: "book? book? book?" But the sleep. Yeah. Generally her nights are smooth, and then last night she woke up for an hour-and-a-half just as we were going to bed. Still don't know what was bothering her, but we eventually wondered if it was a teeth situation and got her some infant Tylenol...which she refused. Parents, don't start your kids on fruits and veggies, start them on yucky flavored candy so they won't turn down baby-drugs later!'s been a sleepy day for Mama. <3